Usually, I did. I write lots of travel reviews on sites where I think they will do the most good. I review hotels and hostels, restaurants, guided and self-guided tours and even travel and tour companies. I am considered a ‘senior contributor’ on a couple of sites that take reviews which just means I have written in excess of 100 reviews for every category they have.
I write my reviews well after our stay or our travel. Mike and I have not written one review for anyone who has paid us or given us an upgrade in a hotel room or compensated us in some way. Usually we give them our business card on the way out the door not on the way in. This means we aren’t getting service reserved for VIP clients but for the regular folk who spend their hard earned money but should be treated fairly for it. It also means we are free to write an honest assessment of a hotel or the food we are served.
This review thing works two ways. You see I search online for reviews for everything travel related well before we book anything. And I read mostly the negative reviews. I certainly don’t read any review written by someone who has written one review which is glowing and positive and way out of whack with the other reviews I’m reading. Usually this tells me that the review is bogus and carries no weight with me whatsoever. People should really stop getting their friends to write bogus reviews; what they need to do is spend time fixing the problems in their establishments or on their tours instead of faking reviews. You can tell a fake review a mile away. People complain on sites like Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, Pissed Consumer and more. I read them all and I’ve written on them all. When I see reviews from past clients which make my toes curl we avoid that hotel or hostel like the plague (especially if the reviews are current). If the bad reviews are years old and all the current reviews are positive and written by credible reviewers we might give the place or the tour a shot (and we have).
Only once have we been thanked for our review, and that is because we don’t normally return to a place to eat or stay or tour after we visit once. However, the city of Perth in Scotland doesn’t really have a great selection of restaurants to eat in and the one with the best pizza* we visited 3 times in our short stay in that city. On entering the restaurant after our first review had posted, the manager seated us and then thanked us for our positive review of his restaurant and his food. It was nice. And no, we didn’t get anything for free on that return visit except good food and good service and isn’t that what we really want? How did he know it was us; because I don’t have a cutesy gravatar name on my reviews, I use my real name with my real picture. Reviews written by someone with a real name and a real picture are given more credibility by me than someone called anonymous.
Head to the internet and on a search engine type in consumer complaints on…and name your favorite restaurant or hotel or tour company and see if anything pops up. Sometimes it’s an eye opener what is on the internet. Trip Advisor is not the only travel review site on the internet; it’s the largest and most used but people write reviews on many, many sites so read them all. I do and I’m not alone.
Then write those reviews, the good ones and the bad ones. Build your credibility as a thoughtful reviewer so that other travelers are forewarned and forearmed to make a good decision before they spend their travel dollars. That is really why we write these reviews; especially the bad ones to warn other travelers before they book.
*Paco’s was the name of the restaurant located in Perth, Scotland in case you are interested in trying it